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I like the definition from the DASSM courseware: "Business agility is an organization’s ability to rapidly adapt to market and environmental changes in productive and cost-effective ways."
Business agility helps an organization to move closer to being what Taleb called "Anti-fragile".
Business Agility is all about being able to pivot and adapt quickly to market and other conditions.
The ability & discipline to consistently recognize and respond to changes in the business environment, in a timely manner.
- You have people who understand the business environment
- You have data feeds that inform about changes in the business environment
- You have processes for raising changes in the business environment to the attention of the appropriate people
- You have processes for making decisions about what and how to change
- You have automation (data and processes), wherever possible
- You have the discipline to maintain & use the data
- The company strategies and supporting work are defined, visible, and shared
- The business environment changes, or when it appears it is going to change
- You can consistently evaluate the change, assess the impact, determine the best response, and execute in a timely manner
This is the definition I teach. I know it sounds a little rigid, which seems contrary to the idea of flexibility, but agility is more than flying by the seat of your pants. Intuition can be important when you need to make a decision quickly. However, intuition is informed by experience, and not everybody has the same pool of experiences to draw upon. New experiences require more than just intuition if you want to improve your ability to consistently respond appropriately to change.
Kiron's answer is on the point and concise.
Aaron gave great characteristics of business agility.
Just want to add, that business agility is nothing new, it even seems to be diminishing, given that the average lifetime of businesses is declining sharply.
IBM is one of the few companies that prides itself to re-invent itself very few years (and I was employed here for 31 years), though sticking to the core being a B2B technology company.
Is not about what it means to us. Is about the definition that was made in 1990, inside the USA DoD NSF/Agility Forum when more than 250 companies met to find an alternative to Lean after making a prospective analysis about how the world will be in 2015-2030. In that place agile and agility were defined and a architectural reference model were created. That was pushed by manufacture domain what it was extended too soon, to software for example. The Forum was created at Leihigh University. I was part of it because I worked in one of the companies that participated on the movement. This model was (and it is) used up to date. For example, my actual work place was not impacted by Covid because the transformation we started three years ago to implement agile for gaining into agility. But we are not the only place. From 1995 I worked on helping organizations in doing that. The important thing: go to the basement to take advantage of agile. Do not follow the "buzzwords".
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